Interview with Mykola Zhuravel about “Apiary”

  -When you have started to work with bees and an apiary?

–  With the project of “Apiary” I have started to work 12 years ago. After I have more learned about life and activity of the Ukrainian researcher of Prokopovich which has carried out principles of rational beekeeping. As a matter of fact, has made world scale revolution in this areas. For example, all modern beehives are constructed behind a principle of system of Prokopovich when bees aren’t destroyed for for the sake of honey.

Idea of humanism and preservation of a beer family as live organism   has interested me and has inspired on creation of the art project “Apiary” in a modern creative context analyzing between society of people and a beer family – an apiary..

– What means a sphere symbol in your creations?

– ” Transsphere ” is former the project of “Apiary” per 1996. Then I, analyzing universal an image of sphere which the image of sphere (the

earth, space, concept of ancient philosophy). The image of sphere should display natural and human society through high universal association. I have tried to give positive space value to a concrete natural phenomenon – to functions melliferous apiary.

Huge sphere which freely rotated on a triangular basis, and was called – “Gathering of nectar». It is a sphere it is made of a tree which is covered

by levkas, a relief and a list. So I have gradually started to apply a symbol of sphere in painting, the schedule, architectural projects and in actions of land- art.

Explanatory: Levkas – very ancient and, at the same time, the modern technics. It has arisen in ancient Egypt. This technics is noble and spiritual, so-as on levkas icons were written: wooden boards became covered by several layers of a chalk on a glutinous solution…

 – How that has affected you that your ancestors were engaged in beekeeping?

– I haven’t casually started to work with bees. The project “Apiary” is not a craze and not next “attack” on which creative people often “are ill”. Mine

the grandfather and the father were bee-keepers. I was brought up on an apiary among beehives.

In the days of ancient civilizations, when the wild wasp was domesticated into a bee, humans and bees developed a close relationship with each other. An external representation of this relationship is the bees’ “dwelling,” the beehive. The beehive’s origins are in the natural defensive spaces, for example a cavern inside a tree trunk or a bough, where the bees built their honeycombs. Ancient civilizations, and even primitive cultures, created human or mythical figures out of tree trunks inhabited by the bees.

Traditional basket-shaped beehives, or skeps, appeared much later, and themodern frame-based beehive, with its underlying principles of rationality and profit making, has existed only for some 150 years.

This is why the formal language and aesthetics beehive has such a positive effect. Constructed from wood, painted with the leukas primer (like a traditional icon), and then decorated with an artistic relief, the beehive resembles a temple. It reflects elements of the Ukrainian landscape, and at the same time the character of the bee colony. One of its sides creates a warlike, defensive impression, while the other looks harmonious and hospitable. The expanse of the internal space grants the bees “creative freedom,” and in its pear-like shape resembles a woman’s womb.

For me apiary is a temple, a certain model of the world. People should preserve this relic, instead of destroy it that we, unfortunately, observe today. This project is directed on that what to depict a direction of development of a society and mankind in humanistic – esthetic aspects.

Development of society without aggression, without the soldier and violence in information field, the relation to the nature and environment.

-Tell about the project “Aggressive beekeeping”.

– «Agresivnoe beekeeping» is a part of the big project “Apiary”. The logic resonance is already put in the name – for the general consciousness “beekeeping” concept peace. I show the moved heaven and earth consciousness.  The bee-keeper, probably unique example of careful cooperation of the person with the nature, in this project acts as aggressive being. All tools of its peace work turn to the various weapon. Instead of care – violence, instead of heat – fire, instead of building-destruktsija. The clothes turn to a uniform, concrete lines disappear, creating an image aggressive beings which destroys the nature, the house, the work.  For me beehive is an image of a temple. Honey, as a sacral symbol near to gold.

Destroying a temple we lose spiritual reference point and values. We lose understanding of the price of separate human life. Art doesn’t give certain answers about good and bad, it excites and forces задуматся. A question sign became the burned down beehive, offering everyone not indifferent to find the understanding, the relation to dialogue of the person with the world.

 -Tell about the project “People-bees”.

– A series of photos “People-bees”, shows a project part “Apiary”. In photos are my friends who have agreed to participate in the photoproject. The idea, this series, consists in that to approach a theme apiary to the person, and to show in an image of bees of contemporaries living near to me. I have shown people with their dreams and desires to live better in harmony and love. Our world is and there is an image apiary, and people living in houses are bees. And in an image of ability to live of bees where they live in harmony with the nature creating useful products without breaking balance of environment. In my project it is presented улеи in an image of modern sculptures in which there live the present real bees. The idea to unite a theme of a society and the person, a bee and apiary proves to be true the general work of the person and beer seven. In my opinion, art should push the person on reflections about a vector of development of mankind in humanitarian sense of this word.

–  What do you think of a society in which you live?

– At the big dynamics of development in a technological and scientific plane of mankind the aspect of mutual understanding between various groups of people isn’t perfect. The humanitarian aspect needs constant improvement. Communications on at spiritual cultural level between people are necessary. Many problems and conflicts, so, or otherwise connected with indifference and misunderstanding. On it, in my opinion, artists should lift these themes in the creativity.

In the modern art at many exhibitions we can trace tendencies of the reference of artists to themes of cynicism, the low relation of the person to the person, to themes defective and destructive. But thus there is a number of artists which work over themes of high morals, themes of dream of transformation of human life in the perfect world. And I would like to be with the creativity in their number.

– Film on a web site, about what it? Tell about it?

– The film is, some kind of, decoding “Apiary” through video a number of different parts entering into one project. In a film plots not only from the project “Apiary”, but also from others, such as “fog Preservation” and “Sferogravija” which description can be found on my site are used.

  -The significant project “Apiary” is big system. Tell in general about the project?

– The project “Apiary” for me bears the features of self indentification. Conception of “Apiary” is topically ecological: it creation of adequate nature, its necessities and rhythms of the module of today’s city environment. Architecture of such city not so much even architecture of the future, skil’ki multi-layered biological substance, identical nature, and decides properly as spatial modulation of natural environments. A new language thus remains the language of the first naive contact of man with the world, it primary characters.

Besides exhibitions in Ukraine 2003-06, the project “Apiary” has been presented in:  

USA, New York, Ukrainian Institute of America 2004. Zorya Fine  Art Gallery, Greenwich, Connecticut, 2005.  Switzerland, Basel, 2008.  China, Shanghai 2010, Liu Haisu Art Museum. ShContemporary 2010 , Shanhai, China.

Apiary project – in which I draw humanistic parallels between the peaceful and productive existence of bee families and the life of mankind, etc. 

The uniqueness of the Apiary sculptural project lies in the study of the possibility of harmonious cooperation between human society, various layers of society, cultural groups and states. As well as the search for harmony between man and nature and the environment. The Apiary project is an allegory of the ideal relationship between humanity and nature.
The Hive sculptures will be made of wood and metal. After completion of work on the objects, it is planned to install them in the park area and populate them with bee families.

In 2016, the project was presented at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York. Following that, in 2022, the project was displayed at the Withrow Common Gallery as part of the National Canadian Exhibition. The CNE commissioned a sculpture from the project, with a value of $50,000